AROUND five million drivers believe they have got behind the wheel while over the limit at least once in the past year, according to research carried out by the RAC.
In total 16 per cent of the 1,727 motorists questioned say they think they have been guilty of drink-driving, either immediately after consuming alcohol or the morning after a late night drinking session.
Five per cent of motorists surveyed felt sure they were over the limit shortly after having a drink while 3 per cent think they may have been over. Worryingly, a larger proportion – 10 per cent – admits to believing they have driven when over the limit the morning after drinking heavily the night before.
The study also found that men are more likely to risk drink-driving than women, both straight after drinking and the morning after.
RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams said: “Anyone who has been out celebrating during the festive period should be very mindful of not being over the limit when they go to drive the next day. Anyone who thinks they are likely to have sobered up enough to drive just because they went to bed for a few hours may just be about to ruin someone else’s Christmas as well as their own.
“It is vital that everyone who has been drinking leaves sufficient time for their body to process the alcohol they have consumed. The trouble is everyone metabolises alcohol at different rates so the message has to be to err on the side of caution by leaving extra time before deciding to drive, or better still to use an alternative form of transport such as bus, taxi or train, or get a lift from a friend or colleague.
The research also revealed there is extensive general public support for a UK-wide reduction in the legal blood-alcohol limit to 50 milligrams per 100ml – as enforced in Scotland – or even to 20 milligrams, with six in 10 (59%) British motorists saying they are in favour of 50mg or less becoming law.